Oct. 22, 2021—Fairfax County leaders joined the Arlington Partnership for Affordable Housing (APAH) and a host of project partners including Bank of America and Virginia Housing, to celebrate the start of construction on Oakwood Senior in Lee District. Oakwood Senior was made possible by a public-private partnership with Fairfax County. After a competitive process, Fairfax County Redevelopment and Housing Authority (FCRHA) selected APAH to construct a new affordable development on their 6.2-acre parcel at the intersection of Oakwood Road and South Van Dorn Street. The development will feature 150 affordable apartments serving independent seniors ages 62 and above with household income at or below 60 percent of the area median income. Oakwood Senior represents APAH’s first project in Fairfax County as the nonprofit developer expands beyond Arlington.
In addition to being a significant step forward for affordable senior housing, leaders lauded the innovation of the project in terms of land use. The site previously functioned as a stormwater retention pond. The new design includes the installation of an underground storm water retention facility with the senior residences above it.
“This project has the distinction of being the first where the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors transferred ownership of its property to the Redevelopment and Housing Authority for the development of affordable housing,” said Board of Supervisors Chairman Jeff McKay. “It’s a trailblazing achievement that is already being modeled as we investigate the potential for other county sites to incorporate affordably priced housing for our most vulnerable residents – including individuals with disabilities, seniors, and extremely low-income households.”
The location for the community is currently in use as a stormwater retention pond. The design includes the installation of an underground storm water retention facility with the senior residences above it.
According to the county’s Communitywide Housing Strategic Plan, seniors present the second greatest need for affordably priced homes – behind small family households and individuals. Nearly one-third of the residents of Lee District are older adults, many of whom are renters. According to Fairfax County’s demographic data, 52 percent of older adults who rent are cost-burdened by excessive rent compounded by limited income. More than half of that number pay more than 50 percent of their income on rent.
“This Oakwood community will bring a wealth of benefits to our senior population in Lee District,” said Supervisor Rodney Lusk. “Not only will the rent be affordable for our low-income seniors, but its location in the community and the co-located programs, services, and activities will open doors of opportunity that would have otherwise remained unrealized.”
The Oakwood Senior is the latest in an increasing number of public-private developments designed to bring long-term affordable housing opportunities to communities throughout the county. From the award-winning Fallstead senior living community (McLean) to the Residences at North Hill (Alexandria), Fairfax County’s affordable housing portfolio is beginning to see more projects in development on public lands representing well over $100 million in real estate investment for affordable housing.
“We are very proud of the partnerships we have cultivated with developers like APAH – and particularly with the relationship we have enjoyed with the Board of Supervisors – to find new and creative ways to bring affordable housing to Fairfax County,” remarked Fairfax County Redevelopment and Housing Authority Chairman Melissa McKenna. “When we can come to the table with a commitment to provide public land for projects like this, it goes a long way towards reducing a developer’s overall project costs in order to take communities like Oakwood from concept to reality.”
In addition to the contribution of public land, Fairfax County and the FCRHA has also invested $5.25 million in local in Housing Blueprint funding, nearly $12.6 million in revenue bond financing, and awarded 8 project-based vouchers for the project. Additional financing for the project includes both four and nine percent Low-Income Housing Tax Credits awarded by Virginia Housing, funding through the Virginia Housing Trust Fund administered by the Virginia Department of Housing and Community Development, and nearly $30 million in equity investments from Bank of America.
“Providing affordable housing to seniors in Fairfax County is a key part of addressing economic inequality in our area,” said Derrick N. Perkins, Bank of America market executive for Greater Washington. “This unique development at Oakwood and our continued partnership with APAH is providing critical solutions and support to the community.”
Oakwood Senior is the first project in development through a public-private partnership with APAH in Fairfax County. The property will include a mix of one- and two-bedroom apartments with a variety of residential amenities, resources, and programs to serve the five fundamental pillars of APAH’s resident services program:
- Housing and Family Stability
- Health and Wellness
- Workforce Solutions
- Community Solutions
“We are very excited that Oakwood will give us the opportunity to bring the APAH experience to Fairfax County,” said APAH President and CEO Carmen Romero. “In both design and function, we envision a community that will complement the surrounding neighborhood and provide fulfilling experiences, engaging opportunities and supportive programs for all of our residents.”
The community is currently projected for completion and occupancy by fall of 2023. For more information about leasing at Oakwood Senior as the project nears completion, please refer to the APAH website.
A Special Thank You to:
Fairfax County Board of Supervisors
Fairfax County Redevelopment and Housing Authority
Arlington Partnership for Affordable Housing
Virginia Housing Trust Fund / Virginia Department of Housing and Community Development
Bank of America
Grimm and Parker
Allen and Shariff
Aumen Asner (Interior Design)
About the Arlington Partnership for Affordable Housing
Founded in 1989, APAH now helps more than 2,000 households live in stable, secure, and affordable rental homes. APAH has 500 affordable apartments under construction and an additional 1,000 in its development pipeline. APAH’s Columbia Hills Apartments received the 2019 ULI Washington Trends Award for Excellence in Affordable Housing. And both Columbia Hills and Gilliam Place, APAH’s most recent projects, were recognized as Virginia’s Best Affordable Housing project by Virginia Housing. In 2020, APAH was named one of the nation’s Top 50 Affordable Housing Developers by Affordable Housing Finance magazine. The organization was named 2021 Developer of the Year by HAND, the Housing Association of Nonprofit Developers.
About the Fairfax County Redevelopment and Housing Authority
Fairfax County Redevelopment and Housing Authority (FCRHA) serves nearly 20,000 residents through a variety of rental housing assistance and homeownership programs; and owns and operates nearly 4,000 units of housing – including multifamily housing, senior housing, licensed assisted living and specialized housing for tenants with a variety of needs. The FCRHA also oversees and administers Fairfax County’s land use housing programs and the investment of public land and local funds (including state and federal grants) to increase and/or preserve the county’s stock of affordable homes.